Women's sevens call-up for Taranaki pair

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2014

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Two of Taranaki's brightest sevens prospects have been contracted by national women's coach Sean Horan.

Teenagers Michaela Blyde and Gayle Broughton were part of a 19-strong national squad named yesterday who have been retained to the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Both players have been on the national radar for the past couple of years, with Blyde, 17, having already represented New Zealand in Australia last year.

Broughton, 18, has also had an impressive start to her career and was a star turn for Taranaki at the recent national sevens tournament in Rotorua.

Both are members of the Taranaki Rugby Football Union's academy.

"I'm really happy for the two youngsters, Gayle and Micheala," Horan said. "They proved they've got what it takes to succeed at this level at the national sevens in Rotorua where they were real stand-outs.

"We are building great depth in the sevens game in this country and I saw plenty of talent across all teams in Rotorua. There were some hard calls to make for this squad, but we needed to balance our needs for the World Series this year, against our need to have a squad capable of winning in Rio in 2016. So I am happy with the mix of youth and experience in this squad which equips us well for the challenges ahead."

Taranaki women's 15-a-side coach Jack Kirifi tried to get a dispensation for Broughton to play in last year's Women's Provincial Competition but she was denied.

Blyde was, however, granted permission to play and was a stand-out on the wing in a side well beaten by most opposition.

She was also player of the tournament at last year's national secondary schools sevens finals.

The New Zealand women's sevens squad assemble in Wellington for a training camp on February 5.

The contracted players are: Shakira Baker, Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Sarah Goss, Vaine Greig, Honey Hireme, Carla Hohepa, Hayley Hutana, Linda Itunu, Kayla McAlister, Huriana Manuel, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Shiray Tane, Alexis Tapsell, Hazel Tubic, Ruby Tui, Selica Winiata, Portia Woodman.

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